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Archive for February, 2011

Another blessed early morning drive time radio, Lyric Vault Moment for the week:

Separated until the veil was torn
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all

Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

And all of creation sing with me now
lift up your voice and lay your burden down
and all of creation sing with me now
fill up the heavens let his glory resound

Time has faded and we see him face to face
every doubt erased forever we will worship the King

The reason we breathe is to sing of his glory
and for all he has done praise the Father
praise the Son and the Spirit in one
and every knee will bow
and every tongue praise the Father
praise the Son and the Spirit in one

Lyrics by Mercy Me

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Beautiful…

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
And all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They’d see so much

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
Cuz you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you’ve held inside so long
But they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die!

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
In His eyes

You’re beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful!
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful!
You are treasured
You are sacred
You are His

Words by Mercy Me

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Hold fast

Have you ever fasted? I personally have not, yet, but we talked about it in a Bible class discussion tonight dealing with spiritual disciplines. I understand that scripture does not necessarily command fasting, in fact, Jesus commands very little, but he asks for much. English translations, at least, say “when you fast…”.

So I’m going to give it some thought. If I do decide to fast, and do it right, you’ll hopefully never know, whether it be from food or from other components of my everyday life. In fact, in departure from my normal pattern, this post will not be publicized. If you find it, you find it, and maybe we can sit down Together with glasses of water and talk about the idea and meaning of fasting and prayer, among other things.

In the meantime, always one to look for the hidden “play on words” that seemingly is always before me, here is a song from Mercy Me that I went away from class tonight humming to myself:

To everyone who’s hurting

To those who’ve had enough

To all the undeserving

That should cover all of us

Please do not let go

I promise there is hope

Hold fast

Help is on the way

Hold fast

He’s come to save the day

What I’ve learned in my life

One thing greater than my strife

Is His grasp

So hold fast

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The birthday event started in earnest early Tuesday morning.    “If you are not growing, you are dying”.    Isn’t that what they say?

“After dropping the kids at school early, I made a quick Starbucks run before heading to campus for the day.   Enroute, the positive encouraging conviction of the radio was there for me.     Kudos to Matthew West for the lyric vault moment charge to be more: to be more of what God has called me to be.

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population: me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate, but I never give ’til it hurts
I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
Yeah,it’s easy to do when it’s
Population: me

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Well, I stopped at a red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign, said “Help this homeless widow”
Above that sign was the face of a human
and I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
I thought how many times have I just passed her by?
So I gave her some money then I drove on through
And my own little world reached
Population: two

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
I should be living right now
Outside my own little world

Father break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
and put Your Light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
That I could be living right now
Well I don’t wanna miss what matters

I wanna be reaching out
showing the greater purpose
so I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

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Have you ever had one of those days?    If you will allow, let me tell you about part of mine.   I believe Albert Einstein was once quoted to say “God is subtle“.     That’s a little how today feels.

I opened the door this Sunday morning to find a new copy of “the Yellow Pages” sitting on the front porch.    Largely a seldom read, often irrelevant book that takes up space in the house, I brought it in and dutifully found it a place in the kitchen cabinet.    Shortly thereafter, Sherry and I were briefly discussing my recent preparatory workout for an upcoming half marathon that I’m going to do my best to survive, and she stated simply that she was “proud of me”.     It seems that this upcoming event has become a sort of bucket list item, something to do while I still can, and it comes with a mixture of embarrassment both in the doing and in the fact that I’ve never attempted something requiring such discipline and preparation before.

An hour or two later, we were sitting in our Bible class at church discussing the book of First John.   It was then that I noticed, really for the first time, that the pages of the Bible in my hands were beginning to turn yellow, as if it were some type of ancient document.    “How can this be”, I wondered, knowing full well that I had only owned this copy of the Bible since Junior High School.    

And that got me to thinking. (sorry to spoil the fun)     If the pages of this seemingly new copy (a mere 33 years young) of the Bible are beginning to show such wear, what do I look like to others?    Is the wear and the age showing to such a degree?      Does my face bear a strong resemblance to a weathered piece of heavy stock paper?    While admittedly being a little silly here, it does make me wonder if the living contents of my jar of clay are as true and correct as those words contained in the ageless Word of God contained in this deteriorating copy currently in my possession.

I remember the first time a student at the university where I work referred to me as “sir”.      You can’t call me sir, I thought, I’m not old enough to be a “sir”.    That being said, I’m not sure that any in my generation were ever quite as young as the students of today.     I guess it’s all in the perspective.    

The chronological clock for me rolls to 45 today.     I sometimes quote the great philosopher, Jon Bon Jovi, by saying “we’re halfway there, living on a prayer”.     More than halfway there, is probably more like it.    Although the women comprising the older generation of family I’ve known have lived to their mid 90’s, the men have not fared as well.     How long will I continue?    I guess that’s for the LORD to know and for me to find out.

God speaks to us, and we should listen.    And His testimony is true.    His testimony endures, even after the pages of my Bible and countless others have dried up and withered away.

In the meantime, as the tone and consistency of my physical pages begin/continue to change with time, I am left to ask if my testimony is enduring the test of time.    Is my testimony true?       Will it endure the ages, even after my “life’s daily pages” have stopped turning?

 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 
 (I John 1:7)   

Truer words were never spoken.

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As we head into Valentine’s day, this song is a good reminder for me of what real love is all about:

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone.

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They’re just children from the outside
I’m working hard, I tell myself they’ll be fine
They’re independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone.

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I am called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t you lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can’t
Don’t want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing dreams that I could give up

I’ll show them I’m willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this out home
Lead me, cause I can’t do this alone

Father, lead me, cause I can’t do this alone

(words by Sanctus Real)

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dust, or rust?…and where thieves break in and steal.      (Matthew 6:19)

Friday night was family movie night.    This go round was “You Again“, a comedic flick about ghosts of your past, high school nemesis, coming back to haunt your existence in your newly minted adult life.    The movie had it’s funny moments, but also its “all too close to home” moments about those folks from our past who had such an influence that is hard to shake from our psyche even years and hundreds of miles away later.     The little woman and I were discussing the real life application with each other and our soon to be high school twins this morning, probably sharing somewhat of a “that was hard” salve with each other while delivering a bit of a “get ready kid” to the younger generation.

The conversation then shifted to old music, 80’s pop, to be specific.     You see, one of the more laughable moments was the “roll the credits” ending where Daryl Hall and John Oates appeared with a rendition of the old classic “Your Kiss is On My List”.      I recall that Hall and Oates were not only one of my favorite singing duos in 9th grade (my delusional pre classic Valen Halen days, I must confess), but a cassette tape of their “album” Private Eyes was a Christmas present from mom and dad that year.    As fate would have it, I still have that cassette and a few others, and a player in our “stereo system” that my in laws gave to us seemingly just a few days ago at Christmas, 17 years ago to be more specific.

As I put the tape in and pressed play, preparing to bless my children with the golden olden melodies, nothing happened.     As I opened the player back up, it seems that years of dust and lack of use have rendered it useless.    Even a healthy treatment with the miracle drug WD-40 could not save the electronic patient.     And it got me thinking.    Sorry to spoil the fun.

Vinyl records.    8-Track Tapes.    Cassette Tapes (Sony Walkman, anyone).    Compact Disks.     MP-3’s.     iTunes.      It seems to me that the more we “progress’ and the faster the pace of change, the more we have invested in our treasures and “the more we have to lose”.      Those lyric vault tapes look perfectly good to me, but the player is not.    I’ll likely never make additional effort to know if the digital content on those magic magnetic strips is still intact.    But the memories live on, at least for today.     But what about that iPod, or all those digital pictures?    Ever have a hard drive crash?    Was it backed up?    It’s a 21st century  technology neophyte’s worst nightmare.      While we once worried about loss from fire, flood, tornado, or actual thieves, we now are subject to the added risk of digital decay or the all too powerful power surge.    Can I get a thank you, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, anyone?

So as we finish clearing out the dust from our haunted high school memories and our hallowed halls of favorite old tunes, one more melody comes to mind, this one composed by Mr. Tillit S Teddlie, another multiple degrees of Interconnectedness part of our faith and family culture:

Earth hold no treasures but perish with using
However precious they be
Yet there’s a country to which I am going
Heaven holds all to me
Heaven holds all to me
Brighter its glory will be
Joy without measure will be my treasure
Heaven holds all to me
Out on the hills of that wonderful country
Happy, contented and free
Loved ones are waiting and watching my coming
Heaven holds all to me
Why should I long for the world with its sorrows
When in that home o’er the sea
Millions are singing the wonderful story?
Heaven holds all to me
  
 
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.   (Matt. 6:19-21)

Sort of a “welcome to the dust free zone, where the hits just keep on coming”.     No old nemesis allowed.

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